Saturday, July 25, 2009

Learning about the University of California, Santa Barbara

Attending a new college can be stressful, lonely, and frustrating. Before you dive into a new college, you must become familiar with the campus. Sit down, relax, and focus on what resources are most valuable in pursuing your academic journey. When I first attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, I struggled to find certain buildings, places to eat, the computer room, and offices.

As a student, you will need to where the following places are: Health Center, Financial Aid Office, University Center, Library, Parking Office, Police Station, Isla Vista, Bookstore, and the locations of your classes. Look on the university map - the one provided in orientation - to get familiar with the campus. You will never be fully comfortable until you take a trip to these landmarks.

Art, film, engineering, and communications, English, and other programs are located in different areas. Many of the film courses are offered near Ellison Hall, near Campbell Hall. Art classes are next to the Storke Tower - near the University Center. Engineering courses are next to the front adjacent entrance, on the outer edge and near the 217.

On the first day, UCSB's campus can be somewhat confusing. The campus is nestled in the hills and near the Pacific Ocean. If I'm not mistaken, UCSB is one of the very few colleges to have its own beach. During class breaks, some students go out for a job in the hills or surf on waves.

Many students that elect to live on campus ride bicycles. Be aware of your surroundings. Make sure to avoid getting run over. Cross the bicycle paths with extreme caution. I have seen quite a few bicycle accidents. A majority of these accident occur because riders are not courteous, are in a hurry, don't yield to others, and assume that others will stop for them.

The library is a tall building that is located near the center of the campus. Many sponsors tend to hold activities near the library. Look at your map; the library is located before Storke Tower. If you use a compass, the library is Southeast of the Storke Tower. Traveling north will take you to the Isla Vista. The library is in the opposite direction of Isla Vista.

In the library, you will find several stories of good literature. On the main floor, before entering the library, students use the 24 hour Study Room to work on homework, use their computers on the free Wi-Fi university network, and study for exams. Inside the library, on the opposite end, they have a room where you can view primary sources using a film reading machine. The main floor has computers, resource references, and a few information stations. The elevator will take you to the other floors, where you can find places to study and to screen sources.

Whenever you get lost, make sure to use the Storke Tower as an identifiable landmark.

The University Center located next to Storke Tower. Many students use the computers there. The Bookstore and the Travel Agency are also located in the University Center. There are many eateries - a few above and a few down below. On the lower floor, there is an arcade room that has some cool games. They have a Wendy's, Panda Express, and some other food locations. The Post Office is located down hallway. The University Center is a cool place to hang out, especially during class breaks.

The Isla Vista, coined the IV, has some good places to eat. I used to eat at a place called Freebirds. They made the biggest, and best burritos there. The place was so popular, past students sent photographs from all over the world to express their gratitude for the restaurant.

Down the street, West of Freebirds, there is a place that has Asian Food. The restaurant is called Little Asia. They have Chinese. Japanese. and Korean food. Try the Beef and Pork Bulgogi plates. The cost of the dishes is affordable. I haven't eaten there since I graduated in the Summer of 2007. I'm sure the restaurant hasn't raised their prices due to tough economic times.

Many UCSB instructors tend to use Readers in their courses. The Readers can be purchased at the University Center. If you can locate the course Reader there, then there is a small shop located behind Freebirds that sells them - near the police station.

Many students rent out rooms in the Isla Vista. I noticed that many students live like bums. In a few classes, I had to work on group projects. Some of those students kept their rooms so messy, I felt as if I were walking on trash at a dump site. Clothes, old fast food, and anything else you could imagine formed another layer on top of the carpet. I guess keeping a messy room is a college ritual next to being an alcoholic.

UCSB used to have the most insane Halloween celebrations in the country. As of late, I think West Hollywood took over their reign. I never been to one of the Halloween bashes there, but I heard that people would burn cars, get drunk, and just party like there was no tomorrow. It was similair to one of those end-of-the-world celebrations made popular in Hollywood films.

The Health Center is located next to the main entrance. Once you enter the main entrance, keep driving until you near the campus. On the right side, the Health Center sits alone on the outskirts, next to one of the pathway entrance to the IV.

The Financial Aid office is located near the front of the college. Look at the map, the FA will be next to the one of the main parking structures. When you walk out of the parking structure, take the elevator to the second floor. Billing is in the same building, but on the first floor. I never visited the Final Aid office that much because UCSB has one of the most effective systems in place. I never had any problems with receiving aid. They offered direct deposit, which was always accurate and arrived on time.

There is no enough time during orientation to locate all the landmarks. If you have time, make sure you visit the campus before class begins. Familiarize yourself with the campus. Never hesitate to ask another students. Most of them will take the time to help you locate your classroom. Just in case you're out of time, be sure to visit the classroom ahead of time. On my first day of class, I struggled to find Embaraderro Hall. The structure was located in the IV, acrosss the street from the Theater.

Lastly, the best instructors in the writing program are Roy Vallis and Michael Patraca. In the film program, Paul Poteges (teaches film & television screenwriting courses) and Janey Walker (teaches documentary film, trauma and memory, and film history) are awesome.

At first, my goal was to attend UCLA's Film Program. When I was rejected, I debated between UC Santa Cruz and UCSB. I enjoyed my junior and senior undergraduate years at UCSB. Even though I was a commuter, I had some cool friends at the college. After class, we used to walk down State Street and discuss our screenplays.

If you have any questions or concerns, the website is very helpful. Make the best of your time in college because life travels fast. Good luck on your college experience.

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